"Amicable" Divorce

If a husband and wife are in the fortunate position of remaining on relatively civil terms as they contemplate a divorce and a potential  bankruptcy   for  one  or  both, some advance  strategic planning  can improve  their post-divorce  financial  situations. A joint bankruptcy petition filed prior to divorce can save on filing and attorney's  fees, but could also reduce the total amount of property that could be exempted from the bankruptcy estate. If one spouse has significant separate property and no personal liability for some or all of the other spouses' debts, the bankruptcy of only the personally liable spouse prior to divorce may be advantageous.  This will at least preserve the non-debtor spouse's separate property, and may leave more property to be considered and distributed at dissolution.

It might also be possible, if a couple determines the desirability of divorce and the imminence of bankruptcy far enough in advance, to transmute a significant amount of community property into separate property prior to the two-year avoidance window in bankruptcy law. Also fraudulent transfer laws may be applicable to the transmutation. Regardless of the time constraints, a transfer of property interests for reasonably equivalent value in the course of settlement negotiations might still allow insulation of some property from the grasp of the trustee, and may result in a lower post-divorce  support burden for the debtor spouse. A transfer of the potential debtor spouse's interest in a marital home to the other spouse in exchange for a release of future support obligations may be an example of such a transmuting transaction.   

While potentially very advantageous to both the potential debtor and the non-debtor spouse, these transactions must be carefully planned in order to avoid the possibility that the bankruptcy trustee will be able to avoid the transfer as fraudulent and reassert control over the property. It is highly advisable to seek a bankruptcy practitioner's guidance before contemplating or consummating such a transaction.



  • Red Hill Law Group really knows their stuff. They certainly don’t try to push you into bankruptcy. They carefully explained everything, including how a short sale could impact you, and how sometimes it’s better to file Chapter 13, keep your house and make payments. They really seem to care about their clients and that’s very important to me. I recommend them highly.


  • The team at Red Hill Law Group took the time to explain our options and how they could help us climb out from under what seemed a mountain of debt.  Bert Briones was so professional, responsive and understanding of our situation it gave us the reassurance we needed to move forward.    I would recommend the Red Hill Law Group team to anyone struggling with credit card debt and unsure of what next steps to take.

  • Bert and his staff are truly exceptional. They treated me with respect and the utmost sensitivity. They were always easy to reach by phone too, which is huge. Altogether, working with them was a very positive experience for me, and I could not recommend them highly enough.

  • They made my hard situation so easy for me.  Accomodated my work schedule and so down to earth and friendly.  Told me exactly what to expect up front and every thing went exactly as planned.  Kelly, Bert’s assistant, was awesome too.  She is sweet, professional and organized!

  • Red Hill Law Group has helped in a way that would have been impossible for me to do on my own. They have negotiated on my behalf and have come up with a reasonable re-payment plan with my creditors.  Although this has been a long journey for me I look forward to the day that I am completely debt free and I will owe that respect to this law group.

  • Red Hill Law Group has been very helpful and resourceful. I was treated with respect and care.  The results were beyond my expectations.

Orange County Bankruptcy Attorney Bert Briones

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Orange County Bankruptcy Attorney
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